Public Policy & Advocacy

The Latest News and Updates

Foster Parent Resources Study | Has DFPS provided foster parents with adequate resources to ensure they are able to comply with all the regulations relating to providing care for a child in state conservatorship.

Relative and Other Designated Caregiver Placement Program Report | Permanency outcomes for children placed with relatives or other designated caregivers.

Contract Performance FY 2020 Reports | Quarterly quality metrics for purchased client services in family-based safety Services, post-adoption services, and post-permanency services. 

Rider 30 Placement Process & Capacity Tracking | Process and capacity for placement of youth in DFPS conservatorship.

Rider 36 Caseworker and Management Ratio | Caseworker ratios in the Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services programs.

About the TFCA Public Policy and Advocacy Committee

For over 45 years the Texas Foster Care Association has advocated for foster, adoptive, and kinship families.  We pride ourselves on being the state-wide voice for foster care.

Nearly 30 years ago, the state of Texas began outsourcing foster care to the private sector, and many of those families were not included in local foster parent associations, creating more need for the TFCA to provide support resources. Due to other changes in the system, there was also an increased need for advocacy efforts. For over four decades, the TFCA has focused on supports and services needed by the children in foster care and the resource families who so diligently serve them.

Support Child & Youth Serving Caregivers to be Bridges to Permanency Through Reunification

While it is important to support children and youth serving caregivers to keep children safe in foster care, sit is critically important to the well-being of children in foster care to experience positive relationships between their birth and foster parents.  This, along with increased visitation, has the potential to improve a child’s sense of belonging and improve behavior while they are in foster care. 

We propose introducing a statewide model for training and supporting foster caregivers to coach and mentor birth parents.

Provide Timely Access to Trusted, Dedicated Staff and Peer Support

Research has demonstrated that children in foster care achieve better outcomes when they experience stable placements.  Importantly, research has also shown that support to foster parents is associated with improved foster parent retention and decreased placement failure. The types of support identified as being critical to foster parents  include timely support from caseworkers, effective training, support during crisis and peer support.

We propose the creation of a statewide task force to develop a foster parent mentor model for statewide implementation.

Eliminate Disproportionality and Disparity in the Texas Child Welfare System

At the state level, there continues to be a high proportion of African American children at all the different stages of DFPS than the proportion of African American children in the statewide population.  African American children at 1.7 times more likely to be reported for child abuse/neglect, 1.9 times more likely to be investigated, and 1.6 times more likely to be removed than Anglo children.  In 2011, SB501 created the Center for Elimination of Disproportionality and Disparities in the Texas Health and Human Services (later changed to the Texas HHSC Office of Minority Health Statistics and Engagement.) One of the duties of this office was to address the issue of disproportionality of African American children in the foster care system; however, this office was defunded in 2017 and closed its doors in 2018.

We propose reinstatement of this office to include a branch/department focused on eliminating disproportionality in the Texas foster care system. 

Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) Strategic Plan

The DFPS FFPSA Strategic Plan provides information on the Family First Prevention Services Act (including funding mechanisms) and potential impacts both on community child welfare organizations and on DFPS functions. We encourage you to pay special attention to pages 41 to 56, where the report outlines various options for FFPSA implementation regarding preventative services and residential care. The possibilities range from conducting studies to implementing pilots in incorporating Family Based Safety Services into Community Based Care. 

Special Monitor's Report and Show Cause Contempt Motion

This week Judge Jack issued an order allowing the State to modify the timeline for implementing heightened monitoring. The new order will enable the State to execute a phased-in implementation for heightened monitoring of residential providers, as determined by the methodology proposed by the court monitors. The first group of providers has been notified, with additional providers announced in the coming months. Full implementation is expected by January 1st, 2021.

Formal Request for Information on Interim Charges

Building on our shared success and the legislative accomplishments of the 86th Regular Session, these charges focus primarily on the implementation and associated rulemaking of legislation passed earlier this year with an emphasis on ensuring the legislative intent of these measures is achieved. These charges also reflect the issues and priorities that many of you have requested to study and review in preparation for the 2021 legislative session. It is my hope that upon completion of your review, each committee will bring forth recommendations for sound public policy benefiting the people of Texas.